5 sense trick to stop a panic attack

9 Tips To Help You Get Through A Panic Attack

Panic attacks can be physically and mentally exhausting, and they are often difficult to manage. We reached out to members of our community for suggestions on how to cope with panic attacks and anxiety. Here are some helpful ideas that you came up with.

1. Know your triggers

“Increasing self-awareness and knowledge about your own mental health is always a plus. The more you KNOW your triggers and how your anxiety presents itself, the easier it will be to talk yourself through an attack.” – Mindy H.

2. Leave the situation

“I remove myself from the situation immediately, go home, and pet my dogs… it’s the best I can do right now. I have to take care of myself, and when my body is sending me distress signals, I have learned to respond before I have a meltdown.” – Cathy M.

[At work or in public] “I hide in bathrooms… I feel safe in the cubicles.” – Jon I.

“I go for a walk. Even if I’m at work, a quick 10 or 15 minute walk works wonders.” – Melissa S.

3. Grounding techniques

“I look around to find 5 things I can see, 4 things I can touch, 3 things I can hear, 2 things I can smell, and 1 thing I can taste. It’s called grounding.” – Sam A.

“Grounding techniques…. Focus on what’s around you, what it looks like, the smell, the texture.” – Gia S.

“Look around you for…

  • 5 things you can see
  • 4 things you can touch
  • 3 things you can hear
  • 2 things you can smell
  • 1 thing you can taste

This is called ‘grounding’. It can help when you feel like you have lost control of your surroundings and/or your head.” – Tracy K.

4. Meditation and mindful breathing

“I pay attention to my breathing. At first it’s loud and fast, then a few moments later it starts to slow down and quiet down. I sit on the floor and continuously say three words: peace, joy, love. I don’t care how long it takes. When the attack passes I feel lighter and forget why I panicked.” – Myta S.

“Focusing on the breath. Don’t let one thought become two. Don’t let two thoughts become three. Focus on the breath. Repeat.” – Chana B.

“Focus on your breathing as much as you can. Recognize that you’re not breathing correctly and try to correct that right off the bat. Redirect your thinking to something else, whether that be a person, an activity, an animal, pretty much anything so you’re not bombarded with bad thoughts that’ll only make things worse. Try to give yourself affirmations – mine is usually ‘I will be okay’ over and over again. If you’re having bad thoughts about whatever caused your panic attack (‘he hates me,’ ‘I’ll never be good enough,’ ‘nothing is okay, etc), deflect them as best you can. You don’t have to believe whatever you’re saying to deflect it, but do so anyway. He doesn’t hate you. You are good enough. Even if things currently aren’t okay, you can get to a point where they’re manageable or even are entirely okay. ” – Briana H.

5. Visualize a safe place

“Start mindful breathing.

Close my eyes and think of a safe place (mine is the beach).

Vividly think of all five senses being activated in the safe place (the view of the beach, the sound of the waves, the feel of the water and sand, the smell and the taste of the salty air as I breathe).

Tell myself I am safe. Nothing can harm me.

Relax my body gradually until I can open my eyes and breathe normally and come ‘back to reality.’” – Desirae C.

6. Counting

“Recently I found that trying to focus on something else such as counting numbers out of order works, because it requires concentration. You could try counting the numbers 1 to 9 out of order or something like subtracting 7’s or 3’s from 100 as many times as possible.” – Melanie Luxenberg

7. Let it happen/ride it out

“Ride the wave and say ‘I’m okay, nothing is wrong with me, this will be over soon. ’” – Nicole W.

8. Talk to a friend or family member

“When I feel a panic attack coming, quickly I contact my husband or text my best friend with angry and sad emojis. That’s a code between us that I’m overwhelmed, needing reassurance.” – Belinda H.

“I have to be around people… it’s better for me to distract myself by being somewhere where there’s other people. A mall, grocery store. Or meet up with a friend” – Ellen F.

9. Other suggestions

“If I’m at work, I go to bathroom and run cold water over the inside of my wrist. Press pressure point in web between thumb and first finger. This forces me to take a deep breath. Repeat until calm.” – Sharon M.

“I find a dark room to lay down and I focus on the color black, I imagine black and keep saying it in my head.” – Rachael B.

“Ice cold pop top water bottle. Helps me to control my breathing and calm myself down. One big gulp of water and then just hold the bottle top in my mouth, forcing me to breathe through my nose. ” – Jennifer T.

“I go ‘upside down’. Literally lay over the edge of a couch, bench, chair, whatever and just breathe. The different perspective helps me remember to breathe and focus only on the things I can see around me.” – Amanda F.

“I can’t explain why, but when I have a panic attack I need pressure on my stomach. I’ll push my stomach in over the back of a chair, or lay on an exercise ball – tummy down. Strange, but comforting.” – Theresa D.

“My biggest piece of advice during a panic attack is to look in the mirror. I often depersonalize or dissociate during panic attacks, and looking in the mirror and talking out loud to myself is only thing that keeps me grounded and helps me through it.” – Whitney Parrish

These are some suggestions you can try on your own. You might also want to meet with a mental health professional for more help; Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy are two types of therapy that can be helpful for managing anxiety and panic attacks.  With the help of a trained therapist, you can learn these techniques and/or find what methods work best for you to manage your panic attacks.

If you are in a crisis, help is available. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You can also reach the Crisis Text Line by texting START to 741-741. For a list of international crisis centers visit this page: http://iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/. If you are not in a crisis and would like someone to talk to online, visit the website www.7cups.com to chat for free with a trained listener.

The Best 5-Senses Grounding Techniques for Anxiety Relief

Everyone feels anxious at one time or another. But did you know that engaging your five senses may help calm your worries?

Not everyone experiences anxiety in the same way, and what may offer anxiety relief to you may not work for someone else.

While many people take medications or attend therapy to manage anxiety symptoms, exercises that engage your five senses may also be helpful. This is particularly so when you need something that works right here, right now.

Indeed, intentionally focusing on hearing, touch, smell, taste, and sight might offer quick relief.

For someone with anxiety, knowing how to effectively use all five senses can be a powerful tool.

Grounding techniques are strategies that help connect or “ground” you in the present moment. They’re essentially a form of mindfulness, which has been shown to help many different mental health conditions.

A large 2014 research review with nearly 19,000 studies concluded that mindfulness-based stress reduction programs can ease symptoms of anxiety, depression, and pain.

Experts believe that grounding techniques, specifically, help you detach from emotional pain, so you can better regulate your emotions.

Grounding encourages you to take a break from your negative thoughts that may be causing anxiety until you’ve calmed down.

Grounding methods for anxiety are different from other relaxation exercises in that they focus heavily on distractions and quieting extreme emotions.

A small 2015 study found that just 1 hour of grounding exercises helps improve mood in people with anxiety and depression more than relaxation alone.

An added benefit of grounding techniques is that they can be done at any time, without anyone else knowing that you’re using them.

One popular grounding technique is the 5-4-3-2-1 method. Here’s how to practice your five senses grounding.

First, you may want to start with a simple deep breathing exercise called the 5-5-5 method. To do this, you breathe in for 5 seconds, hold your breath for 5 seconds, and then breathe out for 5 seconds.

You can continue this process until your thoughts slow down or you notice some relief.

When you can find your breath, try practicing the 5-4-3-2-1 technique. For that, you want to look around and focus on:

  • 5 things you see
  • 4 things you feel
  • 3 things you hear
  • 2 things you smell
  • 1 thing you taste

The idea is that the 5-4-3-2-1 technique helps you shift your focus to what’s currently happening around you instead of what’s making you feel anxious.

Focusing on each of your senses is a simple way to distract yourself from those thoughts that may be causing your anxiety.

Consider choosing a couple of exercises for each sense and trying to focus all your attention on the sensations.


To engage your sense of sight, here are some ideas:

  • Look at every little detail on a family photo on the wall.
  • Focus on a small object, such as a pencil or coffee mug, and identify every color and shape.
  • Look at the sky for clouds, birds, sunrises, or anything else you can spot around.
  • Focus your attention on a plant or flower and how it moves with the wind.
  • Observe a pet while they play or rest.

You can pick large or small items to focus on. Once you choose an object, try to notice the color, texture, and patterns.


Activating your sense of touch can help distract you from anxious thoughts and may help you decrease the physical signs of anxiety.

You might want to try these exercises:

  • Put your hands under running water, alternating between warm and cold temperatures every 30 seconds.
  • Focus on how your clothing feels on your body or how your hair feels on your head.
  • Touch different body parts by pressing down and holding for 30 seconds before moving to a different area.
  • Touch the furniture in your living area and focus on its texture. For example, take notice of a smooth table.


Focusing on external sounds can help ground you in the moment.

Here are some noises to notice:

  • a barking dog
  • a stomach rumbling
  • a clock ticking
  • traffic outside
  • a car or subway engine
  • music
  • conversation
  • birds singing
  • the wind blowing


To incorporate smell into your grounding techniques, you may want to try these tips:

  • Walk into your bathroom and sniff a bar of soap or shampoo.
  • Light a scented candle.
  • Diffuse a scented oil.
  • Take in simple smells around you, such as the scent of a pillow on the couch or a pencil.
  • Walk outside and breathe deeply through your nose. Maybe you will smell fresh cut grass or flowers blooming.


Try to pick something that you can easily taste, such as:

  • a piece of gum
  • a mint
  • coffee
  • sugar and salt
  • a piece of food

You don’t actually have to taste these items if you don’t have them on hand. Instead, try thinking about the distinct flavors as you remember them.

Here are some additional tips to consider that can help when trying to engage your 5 senses to calm down:

  • Begin grounding yourself in your senses as soon you realize you’re experiencing strong emotions or a difficult mood.
  • Don’t make good or bad judgements. For instance, if you’re focusing on a brown wall but don’t like the color brown, simply tell yourself: “The wall is brown,” instead of, “I don’t like brown.”
  • Do your best to focus on the present, not the past or future. If your thoughts wander, softly bring them back to your senses.
  • Notice your mood before and after using a technique to see if it’s working for you. You might want to use a scale of 0 to 10 to rate your symptoms. Noticing relief may calm you down even more.
  • Be flexible. If you notice one method is more successful than another, stick with that without judgement.
  • Don’t give up. It might take a few attempts before grounding methods are successful.

Engaging all your five senses may help reduce symptoms of stress and worry.

You can follow simple grounding exercises that activate your five senses — sight, touch, hearing, smell, and taste. For example, simply listening to birds chirping or smelling fresh cut grass could help you focus less on your anxious thoughts and more on the present moment.

If you’re having a difficult time managing your anxiety, you may want to consider reaching out to a mental health expert. They can provide you with additional tools to manage your symptoms and discover the root cause of the anxiety.

8 doctor's advice on how to stop a panic attack

It seems that the usual reality is bursting at the seams, we are disturbed by disturbing thoughts - all this provokes the occurrence of nervous disorders and panic attacks. Together with emergency doctor Maria Kovalchuk, we figure out how you can help yourself in such a difficult time for the psyche.


medical editor Ekaterina Mazeina